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The French military term vedette (formed from Latin videre, to see), also spelled vidette, migrated into English and other languages to refer to a mounted sentry or picket, who has the function of bringing information, giving signals or warnings of danger, etc., to a main body of troops.[1] In modern terms, the soldiers who man listening-posts are the equivalent of vedettes.

All around Salisbury Plain in southern England, the roads connecting the plain with the surrounding countryside feature brick-built guard-posts, manned by security officers whenever there is military activity beyond such points. They are known as vedettes, and each one is named for a local geographic feature.[2]

The Gardjola (Maltese for watch tower) in Senglea, Malta is an example of a vedette.[3][4] It may be referred to in French as an échauguette.[5]

Navies use the term vedette to refer to a small scouting or patrol boat.

The term has also been used for specific naval vessels (see USS Vedette), and a class of flying boat (see Canadian Vickers Vedette).